Just 2 days into the new year and 2017 is already ready with a gigantic meteor show! AND we also stand a chance to see an extremely rare comet zooming past Earth.
— NASA (@NASA) 3 января 2017 г.
The Quadrantid meteor shower, which also boasts of being one of the best meteor showers, is about to peak overnight on the 3rd and 4th of January, depending on where you are in the world.
Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003. The shower runs annually from January 1-5. It peaks this year on the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight leaving fairly dark skies for what could be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
The annual meteor shower is thought to be triggered by the Earth passing through the tail of rubble that follows behind the small solar system body 2003 EH1.
As these little pieces of debris and space dust burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, they cause spectacular shooting stars – up to 100 every hour.
Since the Moon is a waxing crescent and only partially illuminated right now, it will be brighter and better this time. But unlike other meteors, the Quadrantids only has a peak viewing window of around 2 hours, and it’s not entirely predictable when it’ll occur.
So you’ll have to watch out for it. The best estimate is that the peak will occur around January 3, 14:00 UTC.
Go out tonight! The Universe has put up quite a show!